2022 FINA World Championships Diary by Gary Francis "Gaz" - Competition Day Ten
Competition Day Ten
Yesterday was a test day for all the swimmers except Ruby who went through her final preparations for the OW Championships which began today.
OW is a completely different feel from the pool competition. There is a great camaraderie between the athletes out of the water- the respect that goes with knowing everyone competing trains like a dog and has a streak of toughness only real endurance athletes understand.
5km Open Water
The 5km field is very large- 59 athletes and Ruby has drawn starting position 4. This means she will not be stuck in the middle of the washing machine like mess in the middle of the start line. However, she also has a large turn buoy about 15m straight ahead so she needs to beat the athlete beside her to it on the side she chooses to take in order to get a clear start.
The mens 5km was very fast and dominated by the pool swimmers. The warm, calm water suits the faster pool swimmers especially over the shorter distance so Ruby needs to be careful on the first lap not to get caught out by going too fast, nor allowing the field to get away from her. This is a great experience for her to learn about OW swimming at the highest level.
Noon start and temperature at the lake is 33 degrees but feels hotter - no breeze! Water temperature is 26 which is quite pleasant but Ruby has taken onboard more fluids than normal for the 5km. As well as today’s swim we need to ensure she recovers well for the tougher swims on Wednesday and Thursday (10 and 25km).
Ruby had a great start - going to the left of the obstructive starting buoy and getting across the swimmer to her left. The first lap was a real baptism of fire though and Ruby suffered a few kicks and punches. At the end of the first lap she was back in 50th place having been about 30th at half lap.
The leaders were setting a world class 1500m pace that stretched the field right out. From the end of lap 1 Ruby had to work her way back into the race. At the end of the second lap Ruby was in the middle of a pack of 12 or so swimmers. The lead swimmer in the group was in 39th place.
A great last lap, easily her best saw her pull away from that group and almost catch two swimmers who had been 50 metres or so ahead after 2 laps. 39th - a solid effort for her first swim outside of NZ and a good warm up for her preferred longer swims later in the week.